Adrian Peterson powered the Minnesota Vikings to a 7-0 lead with an impressive opening drive where he rushed for 69 yards and a TD, but the Bears never recovered as the Vikings went on to a 21-14 win over the battered Chicago Bears, putting Chicago’s playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. Jay Cutler left the game late in the 4th quarter with what’s being reported as a neck/shoulder injury, casting further doubt on the Bears’ postseason hopes. The lone bright spot was Brandon Marshall, who broke the Bears’ single season receptions record with 101 catches after a 10 catch, 160 yard day including a TD.
The Bears offense continues to struggle as they could only muster 14 points, but essentially gave up 14 themselves. Jay Cutler threw two costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown; the other should have been as it was returned down to the 5 yard line. That puts the first 7 points on the Bears defense as they settled down and kept the Bears alive for much of the day.
The story to follow will be Jay Cutler and another injury. All reports point to a neck injury rather than a concussion, but any time a player doesn’t finish the game, it’s a big concern. Before the injury, Cutler had an up and down day. I thought he had a decent game, again showing some nice pocket presence and moving around well. He continues to get decent protection and thanks to the play calling, he’s getting a moving pocket while some bootleg action has been giving him a chance to complete some passes.
The problems on the offense continue to be spread across a wide cast of characters. Here’s a typically maddening sequence by the Bears offense.
3-B.Walsh kicks 58 yards from MIN 35 to CHI 7. 14-E.Weems pushed ob at CHI 25 for 18 yards (97-E.Griffen). PENALTY on CHI-89-M.Spaeth, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at CHI 25.
1-10-CHI 15(3:21) 22-M.Forte right end to MIN 49 for 36 yards (69-J.Allen). PENALTY on MIN-69-J.Allen, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at MIN 49.
1-10-MIN 34(3:21) PENALTY on CHI-72-G.Carimi, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at MIN 34 – No Play.
1-15-MIN 39(2:33) 22-M.Forte left end to MIN 39 for no gain (50-E.Henderson). PENALTY on CHI-78-J.Brown, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at MIN 39 – No Play.
1-25-MIN 49(2:04) 6-J.Cutler pass short right to 87-K.Davis to MIN 39 for 10 yards (33-J.Sanford; 98-L.Guion).
2-15-MIN 39(1:15) 6-J.Cutler pass incomplete deep left to 17-A.Jeffery.
3-15-MIN 39(1:05) (Shotgun) 6-J.Cutler pass incomplete deep right to 15-B.Marshall [22-H.Smith].
4-15-MIN 39(:58) 8-A.Podlesh punts 38 yards to MIN 1, Center-65-P.Mannelly, downed by CHI-14-E.Weems.
Dumb penalty on the kick return. Big play by Forte, followed by consecutive offensive line penalties. Back up. Back up more. Punt.
Dropped passes also killed the Bears. Devin Hester dropped a sure TD pass on a beautiful throw by Cutler to Hester wide open in space near the goal line. Kellen Davis hit his quota of bad plays in the meantime.
A few more notes, going bullet points.
- Nice to see Alshon Jeffery back in action. He had a few nice catches including a TD. His presence is welcomed, especially in the red zone. His fall early in the first quarter cost Jay Cutler and INT and put the Bears back on their heels.
- Chris Conte had a rough day. Hey Chris, the licence plate of that truck that ran you over was 28. He took horrible angles all day and needs to pick up his level of play.
- Matt Forte is good for about one or two good plays per game. That’s not good enough for the guy who just got paid.
- Corey Wooton showed some flashes again. Seems he gets up for Vikings games.
- Christian Ponder is just bad at football. How the Bears let him make enough plays to beat them just kills me.
- It will be interesting to see who wins the Comeback Player of the Year, Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning. Both are having spectacular seasons, leading their respective categories. What say you, Manning or Peterson?
- The Bears tight ends are deplorable yet they keep trotting Kellen Davis out there. Can we see Evan Rodriguez please? At least he can catch.
- Bears linebackers were serviceable in Brian Urlacher’s absence. They had some chances to get Adrian Peterson for losses, but he slipped through to gain positive yardage. I didn’t think they really missed Urlacher all that much.
- More injury concerns for the Bears as Michael Bush got dinged up as did Shea McClellin, along with Cutler. Stephen Paea didn’t suit up and Robbie Gould strained his calf in pregame warmups.
No time to feel sorry for themselves. The Bears are on a 1-4 stretch in their last 5 games and have the division leading Packers head to Soldier Field to try to ensure a division crown next week.
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